History Happenings | April 2015
top image

Executive Director Happenings

A Letter from Rod Howe



As I write this I am in my fourth week as your Executive Director. I already feel very engaged with the Center and all its components. I have fully embraced the mission statement that states that we help people use the tools of history to understand the past, gain perspective on the present and play an informed role in shaping the future. The goal is for this to be the most dynamic and impactful local history center in New York State. That is  an attainable goal as I have seen first-hand our vibrancy. This is your Center and I want to hear programming ideas  from every "corner" of this  historically-rich  county. 

Please feel free to contact me. The best way to reach me is by e-mail at  director@thehistorycenter.net  ( or  you can call, 273-8284, ext. 5).


I am thinking through a THC Executive Director sponsored engagement series that would occur on a regular basis for the next year. The series would use many formats such as book discussions, walks, bike rides, brief lunch-time seminars, an Eight Square School-house visit, an intimate glimpse into our collections, and open sessions to hear from you. It is all about being on a communit journey as we share stories and support one another in exploring, discovering, and connecting.

Treman Floods

The Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park Annual Meeting

The History Center in Tompkins County

401 E. State Street, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

5:30 - 7:00pm



The spectacular gorges in our area have been formed through the eons by the unrelenting, erosive power of water. When we see the gently flowing streams and frothy falls which normally flow through the parks, it's hard to imagine how they could have carved out the massive amphitheaters and sheer cliffs we see today. However, every few decades a massive flood comes roaring through the park and vividly demonstrates the gigantic power of water.


On Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 from 5:30 to 6:00pm, The Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park will hold their annual meeting.


From 6:00 to 7:00pm, Josh Teeter (Environmental Educator for the Finger Lakes Region of the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation) will give a presentation on the massive floods of 1935, 1972, and some of the lesser "high water" events of the past five years. He'll also give us a first-hand look at what it takes to get the post-flood park open again for the public.


Light refreshments will be served.




For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at

A First Friday Gallery Night Event

The History Center

401 E. State Street, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


Friday, April 3rd, 2015

5:00 - 8:00pm


The History Center in Tompkins County will open its doors on Friday, April 3 rd , 2015 from 5:00 to 8:00pm for the event "LOUDER THAN WORDS: Visual Projections and Synthesizer Performances". Done in partnership with Ithaca Underground, this event will consist of two synthesizer performances and projected visual imagery. 

Weirding Module  will open the night from 5:30 to 6:30pm followed by Sunken Cheek  accompanied by visual artists Neeraja D and Ahmed Ozsever from 7:00 to 8:00pm.



Doors open at 5:00pm.


FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. A $5 dollar donation is suggested.



Weirding Module 


Weirding Module is former Wolf Eyes house-mate and Violent Ramp bass player Michael T.'s solo project made during every available moment of time when he's not cooking, eating, reading, or skateboarding. Probably some other verbs too. The music is a heady mix of electronics, synthesizers and homemade samples, heavily influenced by repetition, the chopped and screwed sound of Houston, Texas, science fiction and psychedelia.


Weirding Module's public debut was an American Tapes bootleg cassette (AM333) for the 2004 Brooklyn, NY No Fun Festival. Other releases on plastic formats, mostly cassettes, have followed on the Senseless Empire (US) label, Ozonokids (Spain), Scumbag (US), Silver Ghosts (Netherlands), Night People (US), Faux Pas (US), Alberts Basement (Australia), Breaking World Records (US), Gift Tapes (US), 905 Tapes (US).


Weirding Module's most recent release is _The Voyage In_ on Australian tape label, Dungeon Taxis. UK outfit, Sun Skeletons, made the video for the first song off the release, "Slow Curve". Weirding Module has toured the US, Canada, Europe, Argentina and Chile and is currently based in Arakis, NY.


Sunken Cheek


Since 2011, Weston Czerkies has been writing, recording and performing solo material under the moniker of Sunken Cheek. Utilizing a variety of microphones, synthesizers and loop systems, Sunken Cheek weaves dense and evolving sound structures. Many of the songs center on personal anxieties (self-described as "misery electronics") and while the music reflects this, there are also deeper moments of reflection and solace. For this event, Sunken Cheek will be performing an intricate piece entitled "Every Pore" using voice, synth, and decaying tapes.





Neeraja D


Neeraja D stages installations which perform a narrative structure. Silence and noise interject and inform video compositions, prints and sculpture. The installations seek to be a mode of experience characterized by the multiple distinctions and schisms between dialect and language. The apparent associations and involuntary disassociations of the spoken word and the very formal structure of a written script enable layering and renegotiating the narrative. Elusive marks and permanent impressions punctuate her compositions.   


Born and raised in Hyderabad, India, Neeraja D currently lives and works in Ithaca, New York. 




Ahmed Ozsever


Ahmed Ozsever works with ambiguous language, human traces, and the hidden narratives inscribed over time. Always searching for the words that cannot be said, cannot be heard, and the time that cannot quite be quantified. His subject matter includes, but is not limited to, outmoded photographic technology, the traces inscribed in domestic and transitory spaces, vehicular travel, and landscapes with deep histories which simultaneously elude and provoke our imaginations. Ahmed's background is in photography, which he continues to explore in both book and exhibition formats, and also works in installation incorporating sound, video, and sculptural components as well.


Ahmed is a native of Indianapolis, IN where he studied at the Herron School of Art and Design. He has gone on to spend six years in Chicago, IL where he taught at Hyde Park Art Center and participated in multiple group and solo exhibitions. He has also exhibited in Indianapolis, New York City, Denver, and Ithaca. He currently lives and works in Ithaca, NY.






For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at


Mother Mallard and How It Got That Way
A Presentation, Discussion and Performance


The History Center

401 E. State Street, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


Saturday, April 11th, 2015

2:00 - 4:00pm



A pioneering composer and performer on synthesizers, David Borden is the retired founding director of the Cornell University Digital Music Program.  He holds advanced degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music and Harvard University. After meeting Robert Moog in 1967 his entire concept of music composition and performance changed. The two became lifelong

friends. Mr. Borden's music can be heard on the Cuneiform, FRKWYS, Ne World, Spectrum Spools and Fabric labels. In addition to his electronic and electro-acoustic wor ks, he has composed many pieces for two pianos. Writing in Chamber Music America, Ky le Gann describes Borden's work as " . . . music with a kind of joyful, bopping ecstasy."


Mr. Borden will present a PowerPoint lecture outlining the forces and circumstances surrounding the formation of the original Moog Synthesizer Ensemble, Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. He will give an introduction to the people involved and the music they played. He will also talk about the post-Moog versions of the band and how they evolved into the laptop ensemble they are today.


After the lecture, Mr. Borden will perform his piece EASTER (1970) which was composed at the Moog Electronic Studio in Trumansburg, NY. 




For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at

Environmental History Presentations
Ithaca College Student Research


The History Center in Tompkins County
401 E. State State, Suite 100
Ithaca, NY 14850


Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
7:00 - 9:00pm

Join us for a public presentation by Ithaca College Professor Michael Smith's students on local environmental history. Each year "The History of American Environmental Thought" class does an intensive research project in The History Center archives studying topics ranging from agriculture to urban development to energy use to water issues. The students develop their projects using manuscript collections, maps, photographs and newspapers, all focused on Tompkins County's environmental concerns past and present.

Photo caption: Flooding is one of the many topics that Ithaca College students examine in their research with The History Center. This image of the Ithaca fairgrounds in the 1930s shows how badly Ithaca flooded in the early 20th century. 



For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at community@thehistorycenter.net

The History of Electronic Music
A Presentation and Discussion

The History Center

401 E. State Street, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


Saturday, April 25th, 2015

2:00 - 4:00pm


Gene Endres worked as an  electronics  technician and audio engineer at Ithaca College. He was responsible for acquisition, installation and maintenance of a variety of equipment, ranging from tape and digital recorders to something as far-ranging as a portable speech s ynthesis computer to assist the vocally impaired. Originally from New Jersey, he settled in the Ithaca area after his brother-in-law took a job working as an  electronics  engin eer with Robert A. Moog, Inc. in Trumansburg.  Through this connection, Gene was able to interview Bob Moog and produce a program on him and the Moog Synthesizer, broadcast on Pacifica Radio in 1970.

While at Ithaca College, Gene also did a WICB folk music program, "The Hobo's Lullaby", for some 31 years. Calling it the "Home for Homeless Music" he was able to play a wide range of music, sounds and talk, including various experimental musics based on Woody Guthrie's maxim: "All music made by folks is folk music." 

While by no means a trained or performing musician, Gene does have an early modular synthesizer, assembled and wired from kits. He is also an inveterate collector of music and sounds, and has been a follower of the avant-garde and  electronic  music scene since his teenage years.

The  history  of  electronic  music could be said to have started when pipe organs were made and controlled electrically; when early radio generators were made to play music; and when the Edison gramophone allowed recorded music to be manipulated. The  history  includes Russian spies, singing computers, orchestras that played in the middle of the night during a war and much more. As the Grateful Dead observed: "What a Long Strange Trip It's Been".


From 2:00 to 4:00pm on Saturday, April 25th, 2015, Gene Endres will give a presentation at The History Center on The History of Electronic Music.






For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at

 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at


Step-Back to the 1860s!
A Family Event for Cornell's Sesquicentennial

Cornell Plantations

1 Plantations Road

Ithaca, NY 14850


Saturday, April 25th, 2015

1:00 - 5:00pm


Discover what life was like in Ithaca at the time of Cornell's Charter signing, with hands-on activities based on the diaries of local youth from the 1860's! Taste delicate cake, make a broom, play old-fashioned games, learn about Forest Home's water mills and more. Special guest will be family-friendly musician Dave Ruch playing period songs to sing and move to.


This is a Judy's Day Family Program presented in cooperation with Cornell Plantations.


$5 for individuals

$10 for families

Free to Cornell Plantations' members




For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at


Take Our History Forward with a gift to The History Center. Your gifts support history education at its finest. To learn more, please click here!
Smile with AmazonSmile
Introducing a New Way to Give to The History Center


The  History Center now has a new, easy way for you to support our efforts. Amazon Smile is a simple, automatic way for you to support The History Center every time you shop at Amazon, at no cost to you.  
When you shop at  smile.amazon.com  you find the same selection, prices and convenience as at Amazon.com with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase price to THC.   If you currently have an Amazon account, your same log-in information will be supported with Amazon Smile. The History Center is already registered to receive the donations and all you have to do is go to Amazon Smile, choose The History Center as your designated charity, and then use Amazon Smile each time you shop.  We hope you sign up soon and thank you!


For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at community@thehistorycenter.net

Digging Into Carrie's Diary
19th Century Life and Archaeology at the Eight Square School House
A Summer Camp

The Eight Square School House

1748 Hanshaw Road

Dryden, NY 13053



The Eight Square Schoolhouse has been home to our Living History Program for over 35 years. This summer we will explore activities based on the 1869 diary of thirteen year old Carrie Manning, a local farm girl who loved her family and friends, and left us a day by day glimpse of her life through her writing.


Pick herbs in our garden, make a 'graces' game to take home, create your own journal, write a letter in pen and ink, learn archaeological techniques, take home a copy of Carrie Manning's diary, and taste some 'delicate' cake! It all takes place at the History Center's historic octagonal one room schoolhouse!


Children will be able to compare their lives in the 21st century with Carrie's 19th century life, and gain an appreciation and understanding for how a child's world has changed, yet in many ways has remained the same over the centuries. Digging with a local archaeologist on our nearly two hundred year old site, the class will be able to understand Carrie's life from a scientific, as well as a social, context. 



WHEN:         Monday through Friday, July 13-17 


TIME:            9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


WHERE:       Eight Square Schoolhouse, 1748 Hanshaw Road, Dryden, NY


AGES:          Co-ed 9 to 13 year olds


FEE:             $225.00 / week

                     $195.00/week for two or more siblings

                     $50.00/day drop-in rate


                             Limit of 15 full week students/3 drop-in students per day







For more information, please contact Carole West, at 607.273.8284 ext. 3 or at


If Wishes Were Horses
A Project Update

The History Center

401 E. State Street, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


Tuesdays and Thursdays

11:00am to 4:00pm



The History Center is happy to annouce that artist Christi Sobel will continue painting the Stewart Park Carousel horses at The History Center through the month of April. She will be in on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11:00am and 4:00pm. We welcome you to stop by to say hello, and talk with her about the project.

Be sure to check out the If Wishes Were Horses blogspot link below.




For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at


Out of Bounds
A Radio Talk Show



Saturday, April 4th, 2015 - 3:30pm
WEOS-FM 90.3 & 89.5 (Geneva Region)
Live Stream: WEOS.org

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 - 11:30am
WSKG-FM 89.3 (Binghamton), 90.9 (Ithaca), 91.7 (Cooperstown/Oneonta), 91.1 (Corning/Elmira), 88.7 (Hornell/Alfred)
Live Stream: WSKG.org



Donna Eschenbrenner, Director of Archives and Research Services at The History Center in Tompkins County, will be participating in the radio talk show Out of Bounds.


Eschenbrenner attended Manhattan College and NYU where she studied English Literature. Her early career was in publishing and teaching English to foreign students but she always wanted to work in the field of history. In 1999 she volunteered as an assistant to the archivist at what was then called The DeWitt Historical Society. In 2001 she became the Director of Archives and Research Services at what we now call The History Center of Tompkins County.



Be sure to tune in!


For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at


Volunteer Opportunities
at The History Center in Tompkins County


The History Center in Tompkins County is seeking volunteers in the following areas:



Research Library

 Archival Collection

Object Collection

Front Desk/Visitor Services

Information Technology Assistance

Event and Program Marketing 

If you know someone who may be interested in one or more of these areas, or you yourself are interested, please contact  Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or Community@TheHistoryCenter.net.

Cornell Railroad Historical Society
A Monthly Group Meeting at The History Center

The History Center

401 E. State Street, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


Second Tuesday of every month

Doors open at 7:00pm



The Cornell Railroad Historical Society became a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in 1981. In the 30 years since that time, it has grown and prospered. With recent membership levels of nearly 130 (even though one of the smaller NRHS chapters) is an active chapter, with great enthusiasm for the subjects of railroads, rail history, rail photography, and other aspects of the railroad hobby.


The Cornell Railroad Historical Society Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at The History Center (401 E. State Street, Suite 100, Ithaca, NY). Doors open at 7:00pm, meetings begin at 7:15pm, and generally last until about 9:00pm. Other yearly activities, most notably the RailFair, and meetings, are open to anyone. 



Please visit lehighvalleyrr.com for more information.

Cornell University History Lectures
A List of Upcoming Presentations




Barbara Ransby, scholar, author and longtime political activist, is Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Chicago and Director of the campus wide Social Justice Initiative.



"Are you a Biographer or a Historian?": Radical Life Narrative Changing 20th Century Historiography"

Monday, April 6th, 2015 at 4:30pm 

Phil Lewis Auditorium


"Can History Change the Future? The Struggle Over Public History and the Uses of Memory"

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at 4:30pm

Phil Lewis Auditorium


"Conversations: 'Black Lives Matter', Past and Present: El-la Baker's Legacy and the Implications for 21st Activism"

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 at 4:30pm

Africana Center



Join Barbara for an open and informal campus and Ithaca community conversation




Bostwick Auctions & Gallery
Historical Objects from a Brooktondale Estate


Bostwick Auctions & Gallery

Orson Ledger Estate Auction - Session #1


Friday, April 24th, 2015 at 4:00pm

1121 Rte. 96 Candor NY 13743


Hundreds and hundreds of railroad lanterns of every style and make, locomotive bells, many padlocks and keys, locomotive steam whistles; railroad crossing sign, tools, oil cans, conductor steps, clothing, calendars, spikes (nails), prints, glass plate negatives, photographs, other ephemera, many local items, etc...


NOTE: This is the first of approximately seven auctions from this estate. We will be hosting an Advertising Signs & Dairy Bottle Auction (6/5/15), several coin auctions, two on-site at the house in Brooktondale of Antiques, Automobiles & Tools, and probably others to be announced as time goes on.


As of the posting of this auction ad we hadn't started to sort a single item. This home and outbuilding are all packed FULL. This is an advance Estate Auction notice so mark your calendar. We will be posting hundreds of photos on our website as the dates get closer.


Preview 2:00pm on Day of Sale * Food Available * Photos available at www.bostwickauctions.com

Thank you for subscribing to History Happenings, the e-newsletter of The History Center!

For feedback, comments and suggestions please contact director@thehistorycenter.net. 


The History Center in Tompkins County

401 E. State/MLK Jr. St.
Suite 100 

Ithaca, NY  14850

In the Gateway Center, just one block from The Ithaca Commons.
Free parking available in the rear lot.


Phone. 607.273.8284  


Hours: Tues, Thurs, Sat from 11-5pm and by appointment

The History Center is a proud member of the Discovery Trail 

With support from